Best Practice Guide for Out-of-School Time Meal Program Models and Sustainability

NRPA, in conjunction with NORC at the University of Chicago, released the best practice guide to share models for implementing six main components of out-of-school time (OST) meal programs at park and recreation sites. All six components emphasize the importance of collaborating with other community organizations to address food insecurity, and models can be selected and/or adapted depending on unique community factors and partnerships. 

This guide is based on extensive research on OST programming and food insecurity, and includes input from urban, suburban, and rural park and recreation agencies across the United States. In collaboration with federally funded meal programs for OST, park and recreation agencies can play a key role in reducing hunger and preventing obesity among children.

Download The Best Practices Guide

Conversation Starter Cards

Sharing meals together is one of life’s great pleasures! Use these Commit to Health Conversation Cards to start conversations during mealtimes, snacks, or any other social time! Pass them out so everyone gets a turn! Find more fun nutrition activities at the Commit to Health website.

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Wellness Policy Implementation Guide for Parks and Recreation

In collaboration with NRPA, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation recently released the Healthy Out-of-School Time Wellness Policy Implementation Guide. The purpose of this guide is to provide park and recreation agencies with real-life examples, best practices and steps to help you implement a wellness policy and create sustainable changes at your site. Some programs use policies to define the types of foods that can or can’t be consumed on premises, while others may set the requirement for minimum number of physical activity minutes during program hours. Many policies also focus on staff wellness to emphasize healthy role-modeling. Use this new tool to create a wellness policy for your healthy out-of-school time site, ensuring program sustainability and generating larger impacts.

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Reducing Food Waste in Out-of-School Time

In collaboration with the Public Health Law Center, NRPA recently published the Reducing Food Waste in Out-of-School Time Best Practices Guide.  This best practices guide provides strategies for reducing food waste at sites that participate in the federal nutrition programs (SFSP, CACFP, NSLP) and it includes guidance on adhering to state and local policies, assessing food waste within your programs, and resources and tools for reducing the amount of waste generated as well as successful examples from local park and recreation agencies.

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Youth Ambassador Best Practices Guide

NRPA awarded 3 communities with funding in 2016 to pilot this youth-driven approach to increase access to healthy eating and physical activity. The Chicago Park District, Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities and Houston Parks and Recreation piloted Youth Ambassador programs in  2016, engaging youth as health and wellness leaders in their communities and collecting best practices to be replicated across the field.  Explore their successes, challenges and recommendations for engaging youth and creating sustainable health-focused ambassador programs in the new Youth as Health and Wellness Leaders in Local Parks and Recreation: Best Practices Guide

Download the Best Practices Guide

Training Videos Available for Out-of-School Time Leaders

Learn more about Commit to Health! Use these training videos to get a better idea of what park and recreation agencies are doing around the country. Hear from Commit to Health agencies about their successes and challenges, gain a better understanding of each of the HEPA standards and formulate a plan for implementing NRPA’s Foods of the Month nutrition education curriculum in your out-of-school time sites.

Additional Training Videos

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